KNOWN as June Osborne before Gilead ever came to be, the handmaid had her own identity stolen from her when forced to take the role of surrogate mother.
Since season 3, however, and after two seasons of being known as Offred, Elisabeth Moss’s character has been given a new name.
Why was June called Offred in The Handmaid’s Tale?
In the early years of Gilead, June was sent to Serena and husband Fred Waterford due to her ability to bear children.
The couple is desperate to have their own child despite Commander Waterford’s infertility.
By being their handmaid, thus a surrogate mother (against her will), June belongs to the Commander and received the name Offred.
The name strips her of any individuality by reducing her to the status of object : it means she has been assigned to a man named Fred and only belongs to him.
Why did June change Commanders?
After season two’s finale, which gave the promise of a rebellion following baby Nichole’s birth and escape with Emily, June is assigned to a new Commander.
This is according to Gilead laws. When a handmaid gives birth to a baby for the couple she has been assigned to, the newborn is quickly taken away from her as she is assigned to a new Commander.
June therefore becomes Ofjoseph when she is assigned to Commander Joseph Lawrence in season three of The Handmaid’s Tale.
This is despite baby Nichole being nowhere near the Waterfords and has, instead, crossed the Canadian border with Emily aka Ofglen, OfSteven, Ofroy and OfJoseph number 3 (portrayed by Alexis Bledel).
Thankfully for June, Bradley Whitford’s Commander Lawrence is less than enthusiastic at taking part in Gilead traditions (i.e. the rapes of the handmaids) and turns out to be more of a friend than a foe.
As an architect of Gilead, however, he has been more passive at putting an end to the handmaids’ torture.
A fan theory now suggests that he may be facing the worst punishment of all as he could be held accountable for his participation in the founding of the dystopia.
View more information: https://www.the-sun.com/entertainment/tv/3125619/why-is-offred-now-ofjoseph-in-the-handmaids-tale/